Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 9:54 am
Good morning, fellow political junkies.
It's the last week of October. That means the administration has just a month to meet its self-imposed deadline to have the Affordable Care Act website running as efficiently as it and millions of Americans had originally envisioned.
But the first item in our Monday political mix of some of the more interesting tidbits that caught my eye this morning indicates why setting such a deadline might be easier than meeting it.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Employers do fire workers who use fake excuses to call in sick, but there are still plenty of examples of this adult version of The Dog Ate My Homework, according to a new study released by the website CareerBuilder. Nearly a third of employees reported they've called in sick when they weren't really. Among the imaginative medical excuses: losing false teeth out of the car window or extreme grumpiness from quitting smoking. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has not had a great year. After a winning a disputed election, he faces inflation near 50 percent. Supplies of basic goods like toilet paper have run low. But now Maduro is acting. He created a new Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness. It's supposed to coordinate services for the poor. We do not know of the Happiness Ministry will work but it has given a practical benefit, causing people to laugh.
German officials are scrambling to gather more information and U.S. officials are assessing diplomatic options in the wake of claims that the U.S. National Security Agency has been monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone for more than a decade. Renee Montagne talks to Tim Naftali of the New America Foundation about America's history of spying and what this recent news means for the U.S. relationship with its European allies.
Dozens of women in Saudi Arabia drove cars Saturday in open protest against the kingdom's ban on women driving. NPR's Deborah Amos, who has been covering the story, speaks with Steve Inskeep about the outcome and implications of the protest.
We're listening now to some of the music of Lou Reed. He died over the weekend at the age of 71. He was in his mid-20s in 1967 when he released this song called "Sunday Morning" on the album "The Velvet Underground and Nico."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNDAY MORNING")
LOU REED: (Singing) Early dawnin', Sunday mornin'...